Every Hunter Wants to Know: A Leningrad Life

Mikhail Iossel, Author W. W. Norton & Company $21.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-393-02985-7
In these 10 stories Soviet emigre Iossel, recently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, sketches his days first as a child of the city known as ``the Venice of the North'' and later as an arrival in the seductive and disturbing ``Abroad.'' Yevgeny (``Zheka'') Litovtsev, the author's fictional counterpart, observes his relatives, friends, neighbors and countrymen with an eye so calm that it's a shock when the occasional reminder of the pre- glasnost era intrudes, as in ``Red Square''--when, visiting Lenin's Tombsic with his grandfather, Zheka sees that an encounter with a man wearing ``a military overcoat with sky bluesic four-star colonel's shoulder straps and a tall Astrakhan hat'' has struck fear into his grandfather's heart. It's another shock, a pleasant one, to recognize how successfully Iossel has embraced his new language. Rarely does a non-native speaker deliver intimate glimpses of faraway delights and nightmares in such vigorous English. The title story, recalling a mushroom hunt in a rugged forest (``We were Jewish. Jewish people in Russia usually stay away from the woods''), takes its name from a mnemonic device: in Russian, the first letters of Every Hunter Wants to Know Where the Pheasant's Hiding are also the first letters of the colors of the rainbow. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-1-938604-88-1
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